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Jillian Brickley Surprised By $25,000 Milken National Educator Award

Dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards were conceived by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken, to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter teaching. By honoring outstanding educators, the program strives to elevate, activate, motivate, and retain talented people to the challenges and adventures of teaching. Jillian Brickley, a fifth grade teacher, at Charlotte Avenue School in Nashua, was surprised with the news by Commissioner Virginia Barry, Ph.D. during an emotional, schoolwide assembly attended by state and local officials, students, peers, and community leaders. Since first presented in 1987 to 12 exemplary California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards program has honored more than 2,500 educators from coast to coast with over $62 million unrestricted $25,000 awards.

“This award honors outstanding elementary and secondary teachers, principals, and specialists for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contributions to meeting the needs of all children,” said Commissioner Barry. “This marks our twelfth year of recognizing excellence in education with the Milken Family Foundation, and we are proud to acknowledge the vision and dedication these NH educators bring to their profession.”

In schools across the nation, exemplary teachers will receive the surprise of a lifetime this fall when they are honored with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. For the first time in their careers, these unsung heroes will be heralded with a fanfare typically reserved for star performances by athletes and entertainers. Recipients are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved… and for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

“Our society’s most important profession is teaching as it informs all others,” said Lowell Milken. “We created the Milken Educator Awards to proclaim in a very public way that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded. It is a message intended for entire communities, policymakers, students who may be inspired to enter the profession, and for our nation’s K-12 educators themselves.” As the program’s motto extols, the future belongs to the educated.

Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken National Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Instead, educators are recommended for this prestigious honor without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each State’s department of education. Candidates for the Milken National Educator Awards are selected on the basis of numerous criteria, including:

  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;
  • Early to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community.

Recipients are presented with their unrestricted $25,000 award checks at the annual Milken National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference held this spring, in Los Angeles, California.

For more information about the Milken National Educator Awards, including pictures and bios of the New Hampshire recipient, please contact Lori Temple, Public Information Officer, NH Department of Education (603) 271-6646 or the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4773. Awards information can also be found on the NH DOE Web site at or the Foundation’s Web site at

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711